The Mozambican Constitutions
of 1975 and 1990

Dossier MZ-0670


1975 constitution 1978 constitution

Above left: A pamphlet published in 1975 containing the text of the 1975 constitution, the nationality law of the same date, and regulations defining the responsibilities of the ministries in the new independent government. Click on the image of the cover to download the document. Above right: A pamphlet containing the Portuguese text of the 1975 constitution as revised by the Assembleia Popular on 13 August 1978. Note that this document was published in at least two printings of respectively 50,000 (printed in September 1978), and 30,000 copies (printed in September 1980), with slightly different covers. This document is the later printing. Click on the image of the cover to download the document.

Constitution, English translation

Above: An English translation of the text of the 1975 constitution, published by Minerva Central in 1980. Click on the image to download a PDF file of the pamphlet.

AP Pamphlet on Constitution 1990 Constitution

Above left: A 93-page booklet issued by the Assembleia Popular in 1988, after its second session from 15-23 September 1987, containing three documents: the project of constitutional revision, an explanation of the alterations, and the text of the Constitution itself. These texts are much less narrative in character than their titles might appear. Click on the image of the cover to read or download the document. Above right: The text of the 1990 pluralist constitution in pamphlet form. Click on the image to download a PDF file of the document.


Independent Mozambique has had three constitutions, namely the independence constitution of 1975, the first pluralist constitution of 1990, and the second pluralist constitution of 2004. This page deals only with the first two, and the dossier below also only includes documents on the 1975 constitution, the 1978 revisions, and the 1990 constitution.

The independence constitution was adopted at FRELIMO’s seventh Central Committee meeting on 20 June 1975, just before independence, together with a separate law on nationality. There appears to have been virtually no public discussion of either measure.

In December 1977 a resolution of the Frelimo Party Central Committee formally passed responsibility for constitutional revision to the Assembleia Popular, and in August 1978 several changes were adopted, including alterations to the preamble and to Title III on state institutions. The constitution had 73 articles and explicitly gave Frelimo a leading role in all aspects of society: the republic was “guided by the political line defined by Frelimo, which is the leading force in the state and in society.” There was no provision for political opposition outside Frelimo, and the party was supreme in the sense that state structures were subordinate to its decisions.

The second constitution marked a major shift away from revolutionary discourse and turned Frelimo, juridically at least, into one political party among many. It entered into force in November 1990, after several years of debate during the war with RENAMO and as the Rome peace negotiations began their third session.

Within Frelimo one group, the «legalists» believed that the war could not be won by military means and that the rapid introduction of a pluralist constitution that met RENAMO’s expressed conditions would pre-empt delays and confusion later on. The new constitution was therefore adopted by a parliament that was still composed entirely of Frelimo deputies. It had 206 articles and defined Mozambique as a sovereign, unitary, and democratic state; it removed Frelimo’s supremacy over the state, introduced political pluralism, and defined such rights as freedom of expression and the press, the right to information, and religious freedom. It abolished the death penalty and removed the word “People’s” from all designations of the state and state structures. The judiciary’s independence was guaranteed, and political parties had to be national in character and support the constitution.

MHN Resources

Consolidated Downloadable Zipped Files

Click on the yellow folder image below to download a dossier of documents and press clippings in PDF format on the constitution of 1975, the modifications of 1978, and the lengthy debate leading to the adoption of the 1990 pluralist constitution. This edition of the dossier contains 73 documents and is dated 6 October 2021. Note that more material may be added from time to time.

Zipped file image